MORE clinics and more vaccine means more vaccinated and more hope for a way out of the restrictions. That was the message from the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford MS today during his press briefing.
There was also a moment to remember those who have suffered during the floods in recent days and praise for the emergency services and NHS for being able to deal with it all.
Fielding questions from the press Mr Drakeford said that Wales was ‘not in a race with other nations’.
The race is against the virus, infection and injection
He was asked whether he had been wrong to assert that he was holding back vaccinations to avoid people standing around doing nothing.
Despite being pressed by a journalist from Channel 4 Mr Drakeford did not admit to being wrong or failing to provide clarity over his remarks. He said that ‘the message was clear’ and that ‘vaccination was the top priority’ for Welsh Government and the NHS in Wales with the ambition being to ‘vaccinate as quickly as possible and as many as possible’.
“212,000 people in Wales have now received the first dose of vaccine in Wales,” he said. “1,000 care home residents a day are being vaccinated,” he continued. All this thanks to the hard work of the NHS. There was hope in the numbers showing a fall in rates of cases in Wales and the First Minister gave a figure of 270 per 100,000 in the population as opposed to 650 before Christmas.
The First Minister said that the TTP programme was also effective but warned of further strains of the virus with 6 cases of the South African variation in Wales already. “We are not immune to changes in other parts of the world,” he said.
Mr Drakeford said that we must ‘carry on with restrictions’ but that the priority was to ‘try and get children and young people back to schools and colleges’.
The First Minister announced a further £200 million was available for supporting businesses in Wales and said it was ‘one of the most generous levels of support anywhere in the UK’.
Mr Drakeford paused to say that his thoughts were with the people returning to find flooded properties and he thanked the emergency services for their hard work.
“These are ‘unprecedented times and it is a reminder to us all that the climate crisis continues”. he said.
He outlined £1,000 per households who have been victims of the floods and retrospective payments for flooding in recent months.
Asked by another journalist if he had a date for when children would return to school he said that it was an impossible question to answer but that it was a question asked at every review, whether there was any headroom to safely lift restrictions as the Welsh Government were always wanting to restore freedoms.
A further review will be held next week.